One of my favourite drinks is coffee. And stop laughing those who thought it was alcohol, it's a hobby it's different! But this is not the subject of the day.
It isn’t known exactly how coffee was discovered, although it probably originates from Ethiopia, but from the 15th century "coffee houses" appear in the Middle East. In the 17th century, its consumption spread throughout the world, first in Italy, then in the rest of Europe and finally in the United States. Which led of course to a growing production.
According to the statistics 2017 and to my surprise, the first consumers of coffee are the northern countries: Finland with 10.35 kg per person per year, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark ... Italy is 7th with 6.69 kg, France 13th with 4.80 kg and Greece 16th with a consumption of 4.52 kg.
I have been drinking coffee since the age of 14, from espresso to long black, cappuccino and from Greece freddo espresso translated by cold espresso. I discovered this drink during my stay for my solo wedding in Santorini my-solo-wedding.html and I admit that it's very refreshing during summer. This is a double espresso shaken with ice cubes. Then served in a glass filled with 2 third of ice.
A barista friend and I had a debate lately about the history of expresso, disagreeing with its origin, I did new research to confirm my statements.
Although Angelo Moriondo created an espresso machine in Turin, Italy in 1884, the original idea dates back to 1822 when Mr. Louis Bernard Rabaut, a Frenchman, decided to use steam to extract roasted coffee. Since then, this beautiful invention has continued to be improved again and again for our greatest pleasure.
I like coffee so much that I don’t sweeten it, I prefer to keep the full natural flavour, but I often accompany it with biscuits or sweets of all kinds at any time of the day. And coffee is essential when I have to get up at dawn to travel for an interview (Article to read or re-read 1st-tv-interview-behind-the-scenes.html).
Peppermint mocha in the United States at Christmas time is not bad either (Article to come), avoid the extra cream or otherwise we forget chocolates, some excess is ok but we still need to fit into our dress for NYE!
What is good with coffee is that I can find it everywhere, so even if I travel a lot, I always get my daily dose. I admit it’s a good excuse to meet baristas too!
Barista is an Italian word which means bartender, preparing all types of drinks. However, when the word has been introduced in the English language, it has slightly changed to describe the preparer of coffee and operator of an espresso machine. This description has been kept in French and German.
A love song to finish this article, because coffee and I, this is the longest romance I've ever had! Hahaha
I hope you all had a very scary Halloween this week, full of tricks and treats!!
I know that some were at Disneyland Paris, lucky you! Which reminds me of one of my articles disneyland-paris.html .
By the way, do you know where the word Halloween comes from?
Halloween or Hallowe'en is a contraction of Hallows' Even or Hallows' Evening, which means the evening before All Saints' Day or All Hallows' day.
My favourite place for Halloween is in Athens, it's a café called Little Kook. It’s in the city centre, close to the famous Monastiraki Square.
The decorations are incredible, I think there’s not a square millimetre unexploited. And to add to the already fussy atmosphere, a thick velvet curtain bars the entrance. Behind, one or two horrible witches are waiting for us to show the premises, and incidentally give us a table. Here pancakes, cakes, cupcakes are kings, in short, the scary kingdom of sweet! Don't try to resist, it's already too late...
Although Athens is one of the sunniest cities in Europe, sometimes it rains...
So, to complete my series of cities in the rain, after Madrid rainy-dayin-madrid.html, let's continue with this ancient city. You’ve already discovered a part last week 1st-tv-interview-behind-the-scenes.html, and I’ve promised to share some of my favourite addresses. So, grab your raincoat and follow me!
This city is full of incredible museums, and to start I take you to the National Historical Museum, located in the neoclassical Palace of the Old Parliament, Stadiou Street 13, Kolokotroni Square, Athens 10561. This building housed the Parliament of the Hellenes until 1935 and since 1960, this is the museum.
Its permanent exhibition traces the history of Greece from the Ottomans to the Second World War. It’s composed of innumerable objects and relics displayed in chronological order.
This year the museum also hosted a temporary exhibition presenting the different traditional Greek costumes, in collaboration with Playmobil. A fun and original way to attract children to discover this universe.
Well, you will say that I repeat myself but when it rains, I like to eat, well, when the weather is nice also hahaha!
So, for our break, I chose Cookie Land. I love this place for 2 things: their kataifi, filaments of filo dough filled with sugar, cinnamon, almonds and pistachios, and their vaflaki (mini-cubes of waffle) with bacon and cheese! With a coffee obviously (Article to come).
Let's continue with another museum that I particularly like, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 44 rue Patission. It was established in 1889 and is the largest archaeological museum in Greece.
It displays nearly 11,000 objects on 8,000 square meters, from early Prehistory to Late Antiquity.
Museum where you will find the golden mask of Agamemnon! But also, an impressive collection of funerary objects, sculptures, Egyptian antiquities, and a hall dedicated to the ruins of Akrotiri, a city of Santorini in the Bronze Age.
A short walk in the evening, all cities have a particular charm in the dark, but I think Athens becomes even more mystical, as if time stopped. Well, almost, because here they like to party until late at night, and cafes, bars and restaurants abound with a splendid view of the Acropolis obviously! City Zen, 360, La Vista, Savaas ... Don’t be afraid to venture, the access is made by lifts hidden in small entrances.
Back to Kimon Hotel, I like staying here when I'm in Athens, it's located in Plaka, my favourite neighbourhood, halfway between the busy shopping streets and the Acropolis. So, I can walk easily or take the metro.
And to finish this busy day, a very funny Halloween video to relax. Enjoy!
Meta ta Mesanyxta 'After Midnight' with Eleonora Meleti on Alpha TV, Athens
Three years ago, when my ex-fiancé and I chose Greece to celebrate our wedding, I never thought how important this place would be to my heart.
From now on, this country is associated with my solo wedding in Santorini and my rebirth (Read previous article 1st-anniversary.html)
A few days ago, I was invited to a TV show on the biggest Greek channel. On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, thousands of viewers discovered me.
I wanted to share this special moment of my life, so here is this extraordinary day told step by step:
1 / I am not a morning person and waking up early is a torture. Nevertheless, I can get up without being grumpy for 2 reasons, whether I travel or work on my blog. This time, I get up at dawn for these 2 reasons!
2 / Head in the clouds, I fly to Athens.
Athens, which means the city of Athena, Goddess of Reason, Prudence, Military Strategy and Wisdom. What a highly symbolic place for my first TV show! I couldn’t wish a better place.
3 / I’ve asked what I had to wear for the occasion and was told: something comfortable for a late night show. Obviously, I’m very used to this kind of event, I do this every day, I knew immediately what to wear (ironic) - finally, after having tried all my wardrobe!
I finally opted for a romantic, elegant and feminine outfit.
Dress and belt: Promod
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Bracelet: Tiffany & Co. by Elsa Peretti
Hairstyle: Un Brin de Jenny
4 / I am picked up at my hotel to go to the studio. Very different from French studios which are very accessible in the middle of cities. This Alpha studio is very isolated and well guarded.
I go directly to makeup where other guests are already there, and also the translator for my interview.
A matte base, zero shine and nervousness that starts to rise even if my smile doesn’t show anything ...
5 / That's it, it's time, I discover the studio set
Many people, cameras, screens, and Eleonora, the presenter, who sees me and immediately comes to meet me. She is charming and very smiling, she puts me at ease instantly. Eleonora Meleti is a well-known and popular journalist in Greece.
Everyone on the set is adorable, they come to greet me, support me. There is even a half Greek Frenchman. The atmosphere is very relaxed.
They explain the process, install me and adjust my microphone, I take a deep breath and concentrate.
Making my first TV appearance was certainly not something I was prepared for. Especially when it comes to 30 minutes of interview. And to make the exercise worse, because as you know I don’t like when it’s simple, Eleonora was addressing me in Greek, the translation was given to me in English, so I answered in English making sure I was looking at my hostess, while the translator translated into Greek instantly. You’ve followed?? Because even me, I’m lost hahaha. So, in summary, my brain heard Greek and English at the same time and I had to try to answer without always remembering the questions!
But I think that watching the video doesn’t need any comment, my interview starts from the 36th minute, unfortunately it’s in Greek, the subtitles are not yet available, however there is a nice video at the beginning (Photo Credit: Alexander Hadji)
You can find all the videos of the show on Alpha TV website:
Greece, the country of my solo wedding, and where so many people have shown so much interest, support and love for my story. I feel good in Greece...
I’ve received even more sympathy after the show, and some people recognised me in the streets of Athens.
Thanks again to Eleonora Meleti, Sotiris Skouloudis, the whole team of Meta ta Mesanyxta and Alpha TV.
6 / Return to the hotel and I admit that it’s difficult to regain my senses. So much excitement and emotions in such a short time ...
7 / Of course I couldn’t leave Athens without going for a walk and relaxing with my friends. Above all, I couldn’t let you without having made you discover this beautiful city! And all my favourite addresses will be in a future article dedicated to this city.
To conclude, a song by P!nk that I particularly like, and which says: I will never surrender, there is nothing but a victory! Well, it could be Athena's words, couldn't it?
In preparation for my first TV interview in Athens, it seemed obvious to talk about my solo wedding again.
Regarding the different interviews I’ve had recently Media, a question came up often, what did you eat?
And as I've already mentioned champagne in a previous article champagne.html here is the logical continuation.
Greece was not chosen by chance, I like Greek cuisine! So obviously for my solo wedding in Santorini, the menu was traditional.
Just thinking about it, I salivate, all these Mediterranean flavours, olive oil, olives, octopus, squid, feta, taramosalata, moussaka ...
To be honest, any excuse was good to eat, so the day before the ceremony we’ve had a rehearsal dinner, and the day after the wedding, a lunch by the beach (article to come with my favourite addresses).
The feature of Santorinian cuisine comes from some products that are not found elsewhere, such as some small tomatoes and favas, small yellow beans. Thus, some recipes are typical of the island such as fava purée or tomato fritters.
And precisely, it was impossible for me to choose among so many delicious dishes, I wanted everything for my wedding dinner! So, the buffet was the best option.
Santorini BBQ Wedding Buffet provided by Spicy Bites Catering:
Selection of breads & kalamata olives
Santorinian salad – Greek – with feta cheese, capers and virgin olive oil
Taramosalata – Dip prepared with fish roe
Eggplant & tomato slices, cooked in the oven with feta cheese and oregano
Tzatziki – Yoghurt dip with cucumber and olive oil
Fava – Santorinian yellow split peas with onion rings
Tomato fritters, local recipe
Grilled chicken fillets with lemon juice
Grilled lamb chops with oregano
Grilled swordfish fillet
Baby roasted potatoes with fresh onion and oregano
Variety of Greek desserts
My guests and I enjoyed it, we often talk about it with a bit of frustration because we would like to eat it again!
Of course, a wedding is not a real wedding without a cake and mine was created by Petranart, Megalochori, Santorini. A cake with fresh strawberries and vanilla cream. Unfortunately, in the euphoria of the evening I ate only one piece. I had such a regret that when I returned to Santorini this year, to celebrate my first wedding anniversary and my birthday, I reordered the same cake! When we love, we don’t count hahaha...
Thanks again to Spicy Bites Catering, Mr Petros from Petranart, but also Venetsanos Winery for the venue, Alexander Hadji (photographer), and of course Maria Alexopoulou & Katerina Panagopoulou from Divine Weddings Santorini.
Thanks also to my culinary partners who shared all these wonderful moments immortalised in these photos. What would we be without food?? Hahaha
Bon Appétit !
"If you can dream it, you can do it. » Walt Disney
I really like this quote, this man was witty. Someone who made a fortune with a mouse! Sometimes you just need to believe it and it works.
Walt Disney or his full name Walter Elias Disney, was born in 1901 in Chicago (Illinois) and died in 1966 in Burbank (California).
Producer, screenwriter, animator and foremost entrepreneur, his success owes it to the Walt Disney Company he created in 1923.
Through his creative and adventurous vision, he created the first theme park in the world, Disneyland, the only park he designed and inaugurated in 1955 in Anaheim, California.
Since then, many "kingdoms" have been built around the world: Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort in China, and of course Disneyland Paris.
Disneyland Paris was inaugurated in 1992 and the 2nd park, Walt Disney Studios opened 10 years later in 2002.
This is the 5th time I go and I still love it!
I really thrill rides and especially roller coasters. But Disneyland has something unique that can’t be found in any other theme park, magic ...
And as Halloween approaches, more effect!
I told you about thrills before so here are my favourite attractions:
Star Tours and Peter Pan, 2 flight simulations that blew me away!
Hyperspace Mountain catapulted me into Star Wars.
'It's a small world', going around the world by boat, my dream is realised ...
Big Thunder Mountain or how a train transports you in the middle of the American canyon...
When there are no more, there are still some!
Walt Disney Studios
Here is the realm of thrill, the Tower of Terror, the Rock'n Roller Coaster or Armageddon.
And even when you think the Crush's Coaster is harmless, well believe me this is a hectic adventure waiting for us ..
Finally, we feel safe on the tram of the Studio Tour, except that again, explosive surprises await us:
After so many emotions, beautiful shops are waiting for us:
Thank you, Mr. Walt Disney, for being able to speak to the child who is in us!
Have a lovely weekend everybody!!
Autumn is here in Europe, rain is back.
Which gave me the idea of a new series of articles that will make you travel this time. And for this first article, I chose Madrid. Remember, I've already talked about this city in a previous article gift-from-science-part-2.html , logical continuation after my solo wedding.
I admit that when it rains, I like to stay in pyjamas all day to gorge on TV series and sweets of all kinds. But sometimes, I take my courage in my hands or rather with an umbrella and a raincoat, and I go for a wander ...
So, follow me today, you will see that life can also be beautiful with wet feet!
Obviously, a hearty breakfast is required before any walk and there are plenty of places in Madrid. There is something for every taste and every budget. Most cafes and restaurants are indoors, which suits us with this weather. Will I choose a traditional brunch with serrano ham, tomato puree, and Spanish tortilla, or churros (addictive donuts), or other European sweets? Hard to decide ...
In the up and down streets of Madrid, I pass buildings I already know and yet with a grey sky, everything is different, my eyes linger on other details, I rediscover these so familiar streets.
The rain is relaxing, it makes the problems flow, the sound is calming, and we can discover things differently, including the beautiful rose garden situated inside the 118 hectares of the majestic El Retiro Park.
The rose garden is beautiful in full sunlight but in the rain it's dreamlike. I’ve strolled for hours in these alleys, all these delicate petals covered with drops. Obviously, only a few people have ventured with this weather, which amplifies the tranquillity of the place and gives me plenty of time to wander and dream ...
After several hours spent in the rain, coffee break is required, and there is no hesitation, you will find me at Motteau! This is my sweet break of the day, especially when I'm homesick because here you taste French pastries.
Not to mention that the setting is charming and very welcoming, I always feel like having coffee with friends, which is so, Juan the boss and Tamara are so friendly.
When I stay in a foreign city for a long time, creating a routine and habits is fundamental. And even if I like solitude, having familiar faces around is essential. Thank you, Tamara and Juan for your kindness and your delicious cakes!
And since I'm not far, let's go to the Caixa Forum, there are always incredible exhibitions. This place reminds you something, and you're right, because that's where Andy Warhol's exhibit was, to read or reread andy-warhol.html
Today, I’m interested in Adolf Loos’ work, an Austrian architect of the early 20th century, this exhibition inspires me a nice article (coming soon).
In the same district, you will also find the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, where I shared with you the article about Sorolla and the fashion sorolla.html
But let’s go to the Prado Museum, a few steps away. Two hours before the museum closes, access to the permanent collection is free. Great classical paintings to contemplate, from Greco to Goya via Velazquez, Rubens and many others, perfect for ending the day.
Another tough choice of the day, dinner. Paella, calamari sandwich - typical of Madrid, ham, or not at all Spanish but so comforting, a pizza.
What is good with big cities is that you can find world cuisine. Which is very nice when you stay several weeks at the same place. And no, I don’t have pleasure eating, you know it's just food hahaha.
Night has fallen, and everything looks different, what a beautiful sight to relax before going to bed. I'm going to have sweet dreams, no doubt.
Who said when it rains it’s boring?? 😉
After talking about amazing hats hat-designer-or-dream-maker.html, how not to speak of an exceptional place where fashion was fundamental, the Palace of Versailles in France.
Residence of Kings of France Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, from 1682 to 1789.
Initially, a small castle built by Louis XIII in 1624 but that Louis XIV and Louis XV radically transformed to make it one of the most beautiful castles in the world.
A succession of richly decorated rooms, with incredible furniture and French sophistication.
I understand better why this castle inspired so many people and why they tried to copy it without ever equalling it.
Gardens and fountains
Absolutely dazzling! I have traveled a lot and visited many palaces, but nothing is close to these gardens.
We are constantly amazed, and we discover lots of hidden paths in the groves.
Even better, the sound and light show "The Night Fountains Show" which gives these gardens an even more romantic and magical charm.
Built in 1687 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart at the request of Louis XIV. It consists of a courtyard, a small palace, gardens and ponds. The exterior of the building is in pink marble, which gives it a romantic elegance.
Built by Louis XV for his mistress Madame de Pompadour, she will unfortunately die before the end of the construction. It was Madame Du Barry, the next favourite who inaugurated it in 1769.
Rustic and charming, far from the luxury and sophistication of other parts of Versailles, Queen’s hamlet transports us to another world.
Built for Marie-Antoinette in 1782, she loved to take refuge there to forget her status as Queen.
I obviously haven’t visited all, but I can’t wait to go back to discover more!
Visit it if you've never done it and while waiting for it, a short video:
Joaquin Sorolla is a Spanish painter who was born in 1863 in Valencia (Spain) and died in 1923 at Cercedilla (Spain).
His work is admired for his portraits and landscapes with a particular attention put on daylight.
Sorolla was passionate about fashion and liked to offer beautiful clothes to his wife Clothilde. Hence this beautiful exhibition, Sorolla and Fashion at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid (Spain) until May 27 2018. The paintings are exhibited with the clothing and accessories, which makes this visit very original.
Sorolla travelled a lot, Madrid, London, New York, Paris. He painted a lot in France and especially in Biarritz.
A leap in time and space to put stars in our eyes and discover the history of fashion. So, do not miss this exhibition if you are in Madrid.
And for those who want to know more about this artist, a short video on his technique:
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What I love about Madrid (Spain) is whenever you visit this beautiful city, there are always art exhibits to attend.
Art is one of my hobbies, I’m always curious, moved, inspired by art work.
Salvador Dali said: “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.”
When I was 14, I had a very high mark for an art work as a school assignment. I found it the other day in old papers I keep. This work was inspired by a major artist, Andy Warhol, born in 1928 in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania-USA) and died in 1987 in New York (NY-USA). More than 20 years later, I have the great opportunity to admire his talent closely!
This week I would like to talk about a current exhibition of Andy Warhol: El Arte Mecanico (Mechanical Art) at Caixa Forum in Madrid. It displays around 350 pieces and documents from different periods of his life, from the 50s as a young commercial graphic designer, to the 80s as a pop art master.
Everybody knows his work even the young generation. Then, it’s absolutely fantastic to be able to see his work.
So if you are in Madrid or plan to go, don’t miss this exhibition!
El Arte Mecanico, Andy Warhol till 6 May 2018
Caixa Forum, Madrid (Spain)
If you want to learn more about pop art, this video is for you:
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Santorini, officially called Thira, is well known for its whitewashed cubiform houses and blue accents. It is perched over 300m onto the cliffs and overlooking the sea and a sea-drowned caldera (crater).
Santorini is a Greek island from the Cyclades Islands located in the Aegean Sea. Santorini has been devastated by a volcano eruption in the 16th century BC giving it its actual shape.
Santorini is attractive in so many ways: breath-taking scenery, sunset, winery, food, beaches, excavation site, museums...
Why Santorini for my first travel article? It was the place of my solo wedding! More to come…